AMC announced today that their newest original series, Hell on Wheels begins production on Monday, May 16 in Calgary. Hell on Wheels is a contemporary western that centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, portrayed by Anson Mount, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroads westward construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad. Developed by Endemol USA and produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Nomadic Pictures, Hell on Wheels is created, written and executive produced by Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton (Faster, Uncommon Valor, The Salton Sea, Bulletproof). The series is slated to premiere in fourth quarter of 2011.
Hell on Wheels underscores the networks commitment to the western following its first original mini-series movie event, Broken Trail. The mini-series premiere, in June 2006, was the second most watched cable movie since 1995 and delivered the network all-time record ratings, including an average 7.7 HH rating and nearly 10 million total viewers over its two-night airing.*
"AMC's commitment to the western is long-standing, and the genre is an important part of our brand and history as a channel," said Charlie Collier, president of AMC. "In Hell on Wheels, AMC is creating another epic and enduring American story."
In addition to Mount (City By The Sea, Cook County, ABCs Line of Fire), Hell on Wheels stars musician/actor Common (Just Wright, Date Night) as Elam; Dominique McElligott (The Philanthropist) as Lily Bell; Colm Meaney (Get Him to the Greek) as Thomas "Doc" Durant; Ben Esler (The Pacific) as Sean McGinnes; Philip Burke (Law & Order, Mercy) as Mickey McGinnes and Eddie Spears (Into the West) as Brother Joseph.
Hell on Wheels tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on a Confederate soldier (Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife. His journey takes him west to Hell on Wheels, a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time. The series documents the railroad's incredible feat of engineering and construction as well as the institutionalized greed and corruption, the immigrant experience, and the plight of the newly emancipated African-Americans during reconstruction. Over time, Hell on Wheels chronicles this potent turning point in our nation's history, and how uncivilized the business of civilization can be.
Joining the Gaytons as executive producer is Jeremy Gold, Endemols SVP of scripted programming, John Shiban and David Von Ancken, who directed the series pilot. eOne Televisions CEO John Morayniss and SVP creative affairs Michael Rosenberg oversee production in partnership with producers Michael Frislev and Chad Oakes at Nomadic Pictures.
Shot on location in Alberta, Canada, the series is produced with assistance of the Government of Alberta, Alberta Film Development Program.